Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC)

Background

Technological innovation is a key element of industrialisation and catch-up in developing countries. Since innovation is costly, risky and path-dependent, groundbreaking innovation is highly concentrated in a few rich countries and amongst a small number of firms. Foreign sources of technology account for a large part of productivity growth in most countries. If foreign technologies are easy to diffuse and adopt, a technologically backward country can catch up rapidly through the acquisition and more rapid deployment of the most advanced technologies (Eaton and Kortum, 1995; Bell and Pavitt, 1993). Therefore, the development process in low income countries can be supported by tapping existing knowledge and know-how. The transfer, adoption and adaptation of knowledge to low income countries hence constitute an important issue for economic growth and global development.

Technology diffusion and adoption relies on substantial and well-directed technological efforts (Lall, 1992) as well as sufficient human and financial resources and absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1989). It requires appropriate institutions and policies to incentivise and facilitate the process in addition to strong local capabilities to identify the right technology and appropriate transfer mechanism, and to absorb and make adaptations according to local economic, social, technical and environmental conditions (Fu, et al., 2011).  By defining innovation as a new product or process, or new management, organisational or marketing practices (where ‘new’ means new to the world or new to the country or the firm), this project fills in the knowledge gap by exploring determinants and transmission channels for effective innovation creation, diffusion and adoption in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints. In particular, it looks at:

• The barriers to innovation creation and diffusion in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints and the space for innovation policy;
• The determinants of knowledge diffusion in LICs from leading innovators to latecomers, in particular the role of university-industry linkage and inter-firm networks;
• The effect of external knowledge diffusion to LICs, in particular the productivity impact of South-South trade and FDI with a special focus on Chinese trade and FDI in Africa;
• Develops an SME open innovation network model to increase frugal innovation for the poorer societies in LICs.

Researchers

Contact name

Role

Project Partner Organisation

Prof Xiaolan Fu

Director/Principal Investigator

University of Oxford

Prof Luc Soete

Co-Investigator

UNU-Merit

Prof Pierre Mohnen

Co-Investigator

UNU-Merit

Dr George Owusu Essegbey

Advisor

Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Prof David Kaplan

Advisor

University of Cape Town

Prof Mammo Muchie

Advisor

Tshwane University of Technology

Anne Miroux

Policy Advisor

UNCTAD

Dr Giacomo Zanello

Research Officer

University of Oxford

Dr Jun Hou

Research Officer

University of Oxford

 

Project Coordinator

University of Oxford

Jieun Choi

Project linked PhD student

University of Oxford

 

esrc and dfid logo

 

Innovation In and for Low Income Countries
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Project Updates
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DILIC Conference
DILIC End of Project High-level Conference

The Diffusion of Innovation in Low-Income Countries (DILIC) end of project high-level conference was held at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on Monday, 2nd November. This event, co-hosted by the TMCD and the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), aimed to present the latest research findings of a three-year research project on Diffusion of Innovation in Low-Income Countries (DILIC), which was funded by ESRC-DFID and supported by UNCTAD, UNIDO and the Ghanaian government.

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Fu Open Innovation
DILIC End of Project High-level Conference Videos

The Diffusion of Innovation in Low-Income Countries (DILIC) end of project high-level conference was held at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on Monday, 2nd November. This event, co-hosted by the TMCD and the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), aimed to present the latest research findings of a three-year research project on Diffusion of Innovation in Low-Income Countries (DILIC), which was funded by ESRC-DFID and supported by UNCTAD, UNIDO and the Ghanaian government. 

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DILIC impact Case Study - "Boosting innovation in Ghana" is now available online

The Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) project, seeks to explore determinants and transmission channels for effective innovation creation, diffusion and adoption in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints.

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DILIC Ghana Innovation Survey on-going

After a successful pilot phase, the DILIC Ghana Innovation Survey is on-going. A total of 500 manufacturing firms will be surveyed throughout the country, and their innovations activities recorded.

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Professor Fu introduced the DILIC Project to Ministries in Ghana

During her recent visit to Ghana, Professor Fu introduced the Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) Project to policy makers at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology.

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TMCD team completes 300-firm survey in Tanzania on knowledge transfer through managerial capabilities

Building on experience researching firm-level innovation in Ghana, the DILIC Project in collaboration with the new MNEmerge team has completed a survey in Tanzania. The research team surveyed 300 firms in order to better understand the sources and channels of innovation for small and medium local firms in Tanzania, focusing on knowledge transfer through managerial capabilities, and examining the effects of these changes on poverty reduction.

Project Outputs
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The Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries (DILIC) Survey Report

ES/J008699/1
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The diffusion of innovation in the private sectors in Low-income Countries (LICs): A systematic literature review

SLPTMD-WP-62
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The Innovation Effects of ICT adoption in Ghana (Xiaolan Fu and Jun Hou)

SLPTMD-WP-71
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Innovation, informality, and firms’ growth in low-income countries

SLPTMD-WP-72
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Policy dynamics and institutional dysfunctions in public agricultural research and innovation (Essegbey, G.O., Sakyi-Dawson, O., Fuseini, M., & Boadu, P.)

SLPTMD-WP-60